Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sheepy Cupcakes!

My English class decided to set up a snack sign up sheet, so we could finish our school days with a treat. I signed up for the first day - convenient for me because it was a monday. Thought it would be a great time to try out these little guys.
I have to say I admire the first person who came up with this idea. Who looks at a cupcake and thinks "Gosh, wow, I could make that a sheep!". Not me. But they are cute. Quite charming in fact, with little cake pop heads and marshmallow wool to keep them cozy. Look at this guy, just willing you to eat him.

Or, more likely, to not eat him.

Bake Temp: 350 F  
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Bake Time: 25ish minutes
Ready-In: 1 hour

(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (room temp)
 1 cup whole milk (room temp) 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)
1 cup boiling water

5 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Butter
1 cup Granulated Sugar

Milk and eggs out to warm
Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Heat oven to 350F. Now, because I wanted to make sheep, I knew I would need some extra cake to make the heads, so I made a batch and a half.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

You'll see that I separated my dry ingredients. I put 2/3 (the equivalent of one batch) in one bowl, and the final third in another bowl.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for one minute.


Milk bubbles encapsulated in oil

Stir in boiling water. It will be thin, but you want that.
Fill liners 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter.  (I put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.) I baked 2/3 as cupcakes, and 1/3 as a cake in an 8x8 pan.
Bake cupcakes for aproximately 18-22 minutes and cake for 23-25 minutes.

Sheep Heads
Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

As the cupcakes are baking, prepare frosting.  

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want this to be a very viscous fluid -  like brownie batter. Make sure to whisk constantly. Remove from heat when ready, and let cool to room temp. Once properly cooled, stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Because we are using granulated sugar, not confectioner's, you want to make sure it's as smooth as can be.Stir in cooled milk mixture and beat until it resembles whipped cream.

  Sheep Assembly Time!
Frost cupcakes.

Cover with mini marshmallow wool. Mash together about 1/3-1/2 cup frosting with prepared cake to make the same mixture you'd use for cake pops. Form ovaly spheres and attach to cupcakes. If you want the heads to overhang, you could use a thin pretzel to attach it to the cupcake. For the eyes, I used leftover frosting and rolled up mini cake balls for the pupils.

Of course, there's always one or two that just won't seem to come out right (the black sheep in the family, if I may) ...I thought this one looked particularly grumpy.

I think I'll have to make my dad eat it.

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